This Is the Salary of a Vogue Assistant in the '70s

Adrianna Barrionuevo

There's nothing more exciting than landing your dream job, so when Richard Alleman left acting behind for an assistant job at Vogue in 1973, he couldn't believe it. "This sounded too good to be true to a small-town boy who collected maps and spent hours immersed in the neighbors' latest issue of National Geographic," he writes. As an assistant to travel editor Despina Messinesi, Alleman was mistaken as a mailroom worker all the time because he was a man, but he was thrilled to be in all of the action that was happening during that time.

"The mid-1970s were an exciting time to be at Vogue. Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, and Francesco Scavullo were at the top of their games, Lauren Hutton was the model of the moment, and Cher had just made history as the first pop star to grace a Vogue cover. Beverly Johnson would soon do likewise as the magazine's first African-American cover girl," he recalls. The only downside? His paltry salary—but even that didn't stop him from enjoying life in a big city. "It was also an exciting time to be in New York—even on a starting salary of $125 a week, which barely covered my rent-stabilized studio in the West Village."

His paycheck in 1973 was the equivalent of around $696 by today's standards, which wasn't terrible but wasn't nearly enough to cover New York City's high cost of living. Either way, it was worth it to Alleman because his career led him on adventures some of us could only dream of, even today. "I would encounter many celebrities at Vogue—from Andy Warhol, whose dachshund got lost in my office, to Lauren Bacall, whom I met at JFK after she had flown the Concorde," he muses. Only at Vogue circa the '70s.

Shop our office-worthy picks inspired by '70s fashion below.

Would you take a small salary for a dream job in fashion? Tell us in the comments.

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